A hydro scheme on the side of Snowdon has been switched on as a new trading company set up by the National Trust begins to harness the power it generates, to help fund conservation.
The new hydro-turbine which has been installed at the National Trust’s Hafod y Llan farm in Snowdonia, Wales, is the charity’s first large-scale renewables project.
The scheme will also be the first to sell electricity through a new trading company, called National Trust (Renewable Energy) Ltd. The money raised from this will be ploughed back into conservation projects, such as footpath repairs and habitat management.
The hydro is expected to generate 1,900 MWhr per year, which is more electricity than is needed to light up all of the National Trust places in Wales, including eight mansions, three castles and around 45 holiday cottages.
The power produced will be sold via the grid to green electricity supplier, Good Energy, which is also the Trust’s energy partner. The project is expected to generate enough electricity to power around 445 homes .
Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust, said: “We’re lucky to be blessed with an abundance of natural resources that we look after for the benefit of the nation. Now with this new trading company we can harness some of the power generated by nature to help fund our conservation work.
“However, the real prize for us as the UK’s largest conservation charity is that we are helping to protect special places forever by creating sustainable energy solutions that work in complete harmony with our natural and historic heritage.”
Juliet Davenport OBE, founder and CEO of Good Energy, said: “This is a fantastic project and shows renewables and conservation working hand in hand. I’m sure our customers are going to be really pleased that some of our power will come from National Trust hydro sites, and maybe they’ll go to see them in action over the summer.”
The National Trust is considering opportunities to install renewable technology where it is appropriate and in the right location and scale for the landscape.
There are more than 250 small and medium-scale renewable energy schemes at National Trust places across England and Wales, including biomass, solar and hydro technology.
An ambitious plan was also launched last year by the National Trust, in conjunction with Good Energy, to provide clean energy to 43 of its historic properties.
It is hoped the scheme will help the charity to generate half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and halve fossil fuel use in the same period.
Through its ambitious renewable energy plans and with energy conservation work, the Trust hopes to save an estimated £4million from its energy bill each year – which it can plough straight back into conservation work at the special places it looks after.
Energy users can support the programme by making the switch to renewable electricity with Good Energy and mentioning the National Trust. Find out more about the Trust’s energy work and partnership with Good Energy at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/energy